Aquarius (♒ and Latin for of the water) is one of the oldest recognized constellations in the zodiac. It is found in a region often called the Sea due to its profusion of watery constellations such as Cetus, Pisces, Eridanus, etc.
The constellation was immortalized in the 1960s, proclaimed the Age of Aquarius. However, there is no standard definition for astrological ages, so the age of Aquarius could begin in 2150 or even 2660, depending on the preferred definition. See also the precession of the equinoxes.
Aquarius has been variously identified through the ages. The best-known myth identifies Aquarius with Ganymede, a beautiful youth with whom Zeus fell in love, and whom he carried off to Olympus to be cupbearer to the gods. The constellation called Crater is sometimes identified as his cup.
Aquarius generally resembles the figure of a man, and when considering fainter humanly visible stars, it takes on the image of a man with a bucket from which is pouring a stream. Aquarius was also identified as the pourer of the waters which flooded the earth in the Great Flood, in the ancient Greek version of the myth. As such, the constellation Eridanus was sometimes identified as being a river poured out by Aquarius.
It may also, together with the constellation Pegasus, be part of the origin of the myth of the Mares of Diomedes, which forms one of The Twelve Labors of Heracles. Its association with pouring out rivers, and the nearby constellation of Capricorn, may be the source of the myth of the Augean stable, which forms another of the labours.
The astrological sign Aquarius (January 20 – February 18) is associated with the constellation. In some cosmologies, Aquarius is associated with the classical element Air, and thus called an Air Sign (with Libra and Gemini). It is also one of the four Fixed signs (along with Leo, Scorpio, and Taurus). Its polar opposite is Leo. Its ruling planet is Uranus (prior to Uranus’ discovery Saturn was considered Aquarius’ ruling planet). Each astrological sign is assigned a part of the body, viewed as the seat of its power. Aquarius rules the circulatory system as well as the ankles. The symbol for Aquarius is the water bearer. Aquarian qualities include an ability to see the big picture, a casual friendly nature, mental acuity (even brilliance), and inventiveness.
- Wikipedia (2005). Aquarius. Retrieved March 1, 2005